Saturday, December 3, 2016

Understanding Italy

When I lived in Italy, the then leader of the party of the left that had inherited the structure of the Italian Communist Party and that had occupied the space of the Socialist Party after the corruption scandals of the 1980s, Massimo Dalema, wrote a book under the title "Per un Paese Normale" (for a normal country). For good and for bad, however, Italy is still a very special country. Tomorrow, the Italians will vote in a referendum that has atrracted the attention of the global media. I am not sure that the coverage has done a good job at facilitating the understanding of what is happening. A Constitutional reform to increase centralization and diminish the role of the Senate has become a plebiscite about the Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi. According to The Economist, the reform does not deserve a Yes vote, but the political beneficiaries of a No victory would probably be the Five Star movement, which is led by a eurosceptic comedian. To be honest, I don't know what would I vote, I don't like Matteo Renzi, but I dislike the most likely alternative even more. I would like Italy to be dominated by the modernized left that seemed to be advancing in the mid ninenties when I was there. But I have missed a lot since then, although I read La Repubblica every Sunday. Europe needs a reformed Italy, not any more of its clowns and charismatic leaders. Not more miracles, please.

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